Ethereum’s next hard fork could make lost private keys a thing of the past

With the implementation of the Pectra hard fork and EIP-3074 upgrade, Ethereum users can now relax knowing they won’t have to fear losing their seed phrases anymore. This is due to a novel “social recovery” mechanism that allows account recovery through a network of trusted contacts.

Tim Beiko, an Ethereum core developer, announced on April 11 that EIP-3074 had been approved for inclusion in the upcoming Ethereum network update, referred to as the Pectra hard fork.

In simple terms, an upgrade will provide enhanced functionalities to regular Ethereum wallets (also known as externally owned accounts) through the addition of new smart contracts. One such capability is the recovery of assets, according to Domothy’s March 25 blog post from the Ethereum Foundation.

To make use of the social recovery feature, users need to give control of their assets to an invoker contract initially by signing a digital document. Subsequently, this contract will manage transactions and function calls for the user.

When the ownership is transferred to another party, the digital signature’s content allows the original owner to regain access to their assets in case they misplace or cannot remember their recovery phrase.

According to cryptocurrency expert cygaar, in a recent X post on April 11, the new functionality will be introduced through the use of the “AUTH” and “AUTHCALL” instructions.

AUTH will take a user’s signature and intended action and verify it was signed properly. AUTHCALL will then call the target contract to carry out the transaction but will assign the user as the caller instead of the invoker contract.

Ethereum’s next hard fork could make lost private keys a thing of the past

Despite voicing worries that funds might be misused if users transfer control of their resources to potentially harmful “invoker” contracts following the Pectra update, Domothy remains hopeful that trustworthy, rigorously verified and audited alternatives will emerge in due time.

Approximately ten billion dollars in value from cryptocurrencies have been irretrievably lost throughout the years as a result of users misplacing or failing to remember their private keys.

Simultaneously, a significant benefit of EIP-3074 is that users don’t have to hold any Ether (ETH) in their wallets to process transactions. Instead, the party managing the invoker contract can cover the gas fees prior.

“This could be huge for gaining mass retail adoption,” cygaar noted.

It will also enable multiple actions to be taken in one transaction.

“Right now in order to swap tokens on Uniswap, you have to first approve Uniswap to use your tokens, and then run the actual swap. Not great.”

“[But] with 3074, these two actions can be batched into a single tx,” cygaar added.

The Pectra hard fork is reportedly expected to occur in late 2024 or early 2025.

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2024-04-12 08:38